Green Giant

I haven’t really done much cooking since my mom and sister came into town.  If I have cooked, they’re recipes I’ve already shared here or leftovers from Filipino or Japanese restaurants.  They’re getting their fare share of Filipino and Japanese food that they don’t have in their area.  While they don’t live in a rural area and have several Filipino and Japanese restaurants there, the variety isn’t as large and it’s more of a casual eatery (for Filipino restaurants) or its not as authentic as the food when we were younger (Japanese).

However at lunch, when I’m usually by myself as my sister and mom explore the area I typically I have a salad.  Usually it’s something quick, which I’ve probably shared with you before, but I wanted to try something different the other day.  I had leftover bacon from the other day (i know WHY on earth with you have leftover bacon… its BACON!  you eat it all in one sitting!) and some broccoli in the fridge, so I decided I was going to make a broccoli salad.

I came across Elise’s Broccoli Salad and decided to try it.  Pretty tasty.

Broccoli Salad by Simply Recipes

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets (1 pound)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or nuts of your choice)
1/2 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey (I used sugar but not as much as the honey.  I kept my dressing tangy)

Directions

Bring a large pot of water with a teaspoon of salt, to a boil.  Add the broccoli florets.  Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli.  Do not cook more than 2 minutes as the broccoli will turn mushy.  Prepare a bowl of ice cold water, while the broccoli is cooking.  Drain the broccoli and place in the ice cold bowl to stop the cooking process.  Let it cool and then drain.

Combine broccoli florets, onions, bacon, almonds, and peas in a large serving bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey or sugar.  Add the dressing to the salad and mix well.  Chill thoroughly before serving.

I put this salad on a bed of romaine lettuce and spinach and omitted the onion.  I also substituted the almonds for pine nuts (I ran out of almonds) and added chunks of cheddar cheese (low fat of course) and chopped bell pepper (and added color to the dish.  I try to present a dish well even if it’s just for me).  The result was DELISH.  The peas, bacon, and broccoli work so well with the mayonnaise dressing (which I used low fat so I wouldn’t feel bad about myself).  The picture above is sans dressing.  I typically add my dressing as I’m eating.  It’s something I picked up when I first started traveling and started to watch what I ate.  A lot of it was because that restaurants over dress their greens making the salad fatty and wilted, which I HATE.  So I’ve learned to ask for the dressing on the side, dip a couple of the veggies into the dressing, and pat the excess off onto the other veggies.  I’ve found that with this method I don’t use as much dressing as one normally does.  But regardless… this salad was yummy in my tummy.  Made me feel better about all the bad eating I did (even if there was bacon, cheese, and mayo in it) this past weekend or the weekdays when my sister asks me to take her to In-N-Out for dinner.

Happy eating!

pot roast again

I think I love this hearty dish way too much especially on a cold day.  There’s something so comforting and soothing about having a plate of some yummy and rich pot roast.  This time I tried Elise’s version of pot roast from Simply Recipes; however, because I’m OBSESSED with my slow cooker I used that.  It turned out DELICIOUS!

Pot Roast by Simply Recipes
(modifications by me in red as this was done using a slow cooker)

Ingredients

3 1/2 pounds of beef shoulder or boneless chuck roast
1 tbsp of olive oil or grapeseed oil
salt, pepper, italian seasoning to taste
1 large onion, chopped or sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup of red wine
several carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise

Directions

Heat the frying pan (get it nice and hot like you would if you were cooking a steak).

Dry the beef with a paper towel (to create that nice crust) and season with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.

Add oil to the pan and place the beef into the pan.  Sear on all sides for about 2-3 minutes (you just want to create a nice crust remember.  CRUST = FLAVOR!) Also, remember not to move it while its searing on the sides… this will not give you that nice crust.

When the meat is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside.  Next put the carrots, vegetables, onion, and garlic into the slow cooker.  Then add the meat along with any juices into the slow cooker as well, followed by the red wine.  Place on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours (or until tender). 

Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes or rice.  Whatever floats your boat!

Enjoy!

stir fry

I bought lots of veggies at the asian market when I got back from the UK knowing that I wanted to make a stir fry.  I used a recipe from Simply Recipes and added more vegetables like carrots, broccoli, green beans, and sugar snap peas.

Flank Steak Stir-Fry by Simply Recipes

Ingredients

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2 inch lengths (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 lb of flank steak, sliced in half lengthwise (along the grain) and then cut into thin strips, 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide (put the steak in the freezer for 15 minutes before slicing to make it easier to slice)
1 red bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into thin strips 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide
Other Vegetables you desire
2 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved into 3 Tablespoons of water

All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
1 tsp finely chopped, peeled, fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, including green tops, chopped
1/2 tsp chili oil

Directions

While you are chopping the ingredients in preparation, bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Parboil the asparagus pieces for 2 minutes, drain, rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside. If you are planning to serve this dish with rice, in a separate pan, prepare 2 cups of white rice, following the instructions on the rice package.

Prepare the All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce by combining the ingredients in a small dish, and set aside.

Stir-fry the asparagus in a wok (or a thick-bottomed pan with at least 2″ sides that can take high heat) in 1 Tbsp of oil, on high heat, for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside.

Add another 1 Tbsp of oil to the pan and stir fry the beef strips, in 2 batches, for 2-3 minutes until browned but still pink inside. Return the first batch of beef to the pan and add the bell pepper. Stir and toss over high heat until just beginning to wilt, 1-2 minutes.

Quickly stir the cornstarch liquid and add it to the pan along with the stir fry sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes. Return the asparagus to the pan, toss to evenly coat and serve with steamed white rice (unless you are going low-carb, in which case, leave out the rice).

The husband typically takes the leftovers to work along with some rice.  If there’s anything left after that, I try to remix it and add it to my salad/sandwich/pita pizza for lunch.  I warmed up the food and ended up putting the leftover meat and veggies on a bed of salad.  I took the sauce from the stir fry and added some sesame oil and olive oil to make it more salad dressing like.  Then I topped the salad with some sesame seeds and peanuts.  You are probably weirded out by warm stirfry on a salad.  Doesn’t that wilt the greens, but wilted greens are delicious even on salads especially on romaine lettuce or arugula.